Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy easily defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno Tuesday night to win New Jersey’s gubernatorial race, giving Democrats full control of the legislative and executive branches in the Garden State.
Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs banker and Democratic Party official, will succeed Gov. Chris Christie, who departs the office as one of the most unpopular governors in the country.
Murphy, who capitalized on anti-Trump sentiments, ran a campaign promising to counter the president’s policies, focusing largely on immigration, though he also supported raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, marijuana legalization, gun reform, and increasing state funds to public schools.
Though Guadagno repeatedly tried to distance herself from her boss, she was unable to overcome Christie’s dismal 14 percent approval rating.
Political experts had favored Murphy to win the election, deeming Christie’s unpopularity an insurmountable obstacle for the Republican candidate.
“Most New Jerseyians are just not willing to give a Republican a chance of being governor right now,” Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University told the Washington Post. “And that is the Christie legacy.”
Murphy tweeted Tuesday evening thanking his supporters.